Skip

[UK filter] What to do with an exorbitant electricity bill from E.on?
May 5, 2012 12:06 AM   Subscribe

I moved into a flat in London in Sept 2011. I wasn't given any meter readings---my agency didn't have them and didn't even know where the meters are. Landlord also doesn't have a good idea where they may be. I don't know previous tenants. There is no gas in this flat---it's electricity only.

I moved into a flat in London in Sept 2011. I wasn't given any meter readings---my agency didn't have them and didn't even know where the meters are. Landlord also doesn't have a good idea where they may be. I don't know previous tenants. There is no gas in this flat---it's electricity only.

My first bill (estimated) came in October, and it was reasonable.
Then meters were apparently read in February (I wasn't informed of that), and a few days ago I received a bill (estimated) telling me I have used up approx. 1200 GBP (!) worth of electricity over the course of the last six months.

Specifically, the bill alleges we had used ca. 900 GBP between Nov 2011 and Jan 2012, inclusive, and 300 GBP between Feb 2012 and Apr 2012.

I know I am an idiot for not pushing even harder for the meter readings on the day we moved in, but is there anything that can be done about this bill? 300 GBP pcm between Nov and Jan is clearly wrong.

Facts: two professionally-active people living in a small flat on 2nd floor, no telly, no power-hungry electronics except for a washing machine and a fridge, three radiators in the flat, electrically-heated water boiler in cupboard. We're on dual-fuel and paying via DD. We're currently paying 30 GBP pcm (I know it's very very low, but that's the amount I was told to accept by E.on when setting up account).
posted by noztran to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
 
Are the readings estimated? This is usually indicated by an '(E)' after the reading. If so, you would normally be able to give them an actual reading to correct their estimate. If not...

If it were me, I'd contact the electricity company and explain my concerns. Tell them that (a) the bill is far larger than can be reasonably expected, (b) you'd like them to confirm to you what the reading was on the date you moved in, and who took the reading, and (c) you'd like to know where the meters are so that you can check them (the may not be able to tell you - meter reading is normally done by a different company). Tell them the date you moved in and that you suspect you're being charged for someone else's usage.

I've been in a situation a little like this, and it turned out that the meters were 'crossed' - the meters numbers had been assigned to the wrong flats and I was being charged for someone else's gas. That's unlikely to be the case here - you're probably being charged for the electricity used by a previous tenant. Even if the electricity company doesn't have an accurate meter reading for the date you moved in, be persistent and they'll normally agree to charge you based on a reasonable estimate of what you should have used, given the size of your household.
posted by pipeski at 12:19 AM on May 5, 2012


This might be a stupid question, but why are you on dual-fuel if your flat is electricity-only?
posted by snoogles at 1:11 AM on May 5, 2012


Take a look at the Consumer Focus' energy pages.
posted by biffa at 1:19 AM on May 5, 2012


If the bill was estimated, the first step is to give them the correct meter reading.

The £900 between November 2011 and Jan 2012 is well within the time you were occupying the flat. If the usage is genuine and occurred before you moved in you have a problem. We have had issues in the past with energy companies trying to charge us for previous tenant's usage and its always taken multiple phone calls and letters to get it sorted including copies of the lease agreement showing the date of move in and meter readings taken on the day we signed the lease. If you don't have accurate meter readings taken before you moved in and they are alleging the usage took place within your tenancy period, you'll have to appeal to their reason and common sense.

You could try going down to your local CAB, they may be able to help.
posted by missmagenta at 1:34 AM on May 5, 2012


@snoogles

My mistake---I meant to say we're on different day and night tariffs (as opposed to being on a flat 24/7 tariff).
posted by noztran at 1:54 AM on May 5, 2012


@pipeski

Thank you for your reply. Yes, they are estimated, with the only exception being the February reading.

After calling E.on, even they think there's something wrong with that bill. Now, all I have to do is submit them with a current reading, and a one taken in 7 days' time.

The only problem is, *nobody* knows where the meters are. And so, the hunt begins..
posted by noztran at 1:57 AM on May 5, 2012


As to finding your meter - have you asked your neighbours? (You didn't mention them in your list of people who didn't know, so I thought I'd check) If the company thinks they took a meter reading then the meter is clearly not inside your flat but in a common area, probably next to all the other flats' meters.
posted by tavegyl at 2:33 AM on May 5, 2012


I was going to say what tavegirl said. I've lived in a flat where the meter was in the shop downstairs. If it's a conversion, maybe there's one meter for the whole block, or someone has a whole cupboard of them and and is wondering who the others belong to.
posted by penguin pie at 2:58 AM on May 5, 2012


After calling E.on, even they think there's something wrong with that bill. Now, all I have to do is submit them with a current reading, and a one taken in 7 days' time.

They really don't want to do it, but worst case they will end up sending a technician to take a reading. Ask around first though.
posted by ersatz at 3:49 AM on May 5, 2012


The only problem is, *nobody* knows where the meters are. And so, the hunt begins..

I don't live in London, and never have, but how is that even possible?
Can your power provider they not tell you when you ring up?

(Also, what tavegyl & penguin pie said about the neighbours? I've had a similar issue with crossed water charges, and have known people living in Soho sharing a building with a restaurant, and there were all kinds of issues).
posted by Mezentian at 5:14 AM on May 5, 2012


@tavegyl, penguin pie, Mezentian

Neighbours didn't know either. But finally, with a touch of serendipity, I have found the meters and got the reading down.

All I (apparently) need to do to move this matter forward with E.on is to submit another reading next week.
posted by noztran at 5:42 AM on May 5, 2012


thanks a lot everybody for your suggestions and time!
posted by noztran at 5:43 AM on May 5, 2012


I'm curious, where were the meters and how did you find them?


And do you know where your other services are?
Power, water and gas are some of the first things I locate when I move.
posted by Mezentian at 6:02 AM on May 5, 2012


I don't live in London, and never have, but how is that even possible?
Can your power provider they not tell you when you ring up?


This may be unique to London but I had the same problem as the one posted here. You need to provide your own readings. And we didn't know where the meters were. The landlord didn't know but thought they might be in the basement so they gave us a key. We found meters but they were unlabeled so it was unclear which meter was ours. There were unoccupied flats so we couldn't just ask the neighbors and do elimination. And so on...

Eventually we solved it - i kid you not! - by writing down the meter usages for all meters. Then we intentionally turned off our electricity for an afternoon and noted which dial that had been moving was now not moving. Really, thats how we did it.

As for the large bills, utility companies are known for vastly overestimating your usage. Sometimes they will predict it based on nothing or maybe your first month - which also included a startup charge but no matter. The only way to fix this mess is to get them a reading.
posted by vacapinta at 7:17 AM on May 5, 2012


There were unoccupied flats so we couldn't just ask the neighbors and do elimination. And so on...Eventually we solved it - i kid you not! - by writing down the meter usages for all meters.

Well, you could have done it the slow way (and we did something similar with a water meter), or you could have switched them all off, and worked out which was yours.

As for the large bills, utility companies are known for vastly overestimating your usage.

Ours are read on a 2-3 monthly basis, and so I have almost 20 years of bills in my files.
Estimation JUST DOES NOT WORK, at least as far as I can tell having looked at mine over the years, even year on year (and I am sad enough, I have done the math).
posted by Mezentian at 7:47 AM on May 5, 2012


@Mezentian

Pretty much what penguin pie said---there were no meters on the premises to be found, so I walked around. In the building I live in there are two or three businesses operating on the ground floor.

As it turns out, the flats' meters were to be found in a cupboard underneath a staircase in a small newsagents...

I took some time to find them, but I have finally got the readings. :)
posted by noztran at 10:27 AM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


« Older Help my friend get financial a...   |  I would like to find a notetak... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.


Post